Mary Ngechu is a beacon of light for many African women having shattered the glass ceiling to become a force to reckon with in a male dominated manufacturing sector of Kenya.
Mary is championing the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Women in Manufacturing Programme that was launched early 2018 as a mentor and industry champion keen on increasing the participation of women in the manufacturing sector as part of the drive to industrialize for a stable and sustainable economic future for Kenya.
Through her enterprises, Mary continues to challenge gender occupational segregation by bringing women to work in manufacturing production floor which is often dominated by male workers. The enterprises run by Mary are equal opportunity employers with over 40% female in the production area which is traditionally considered a male dominated area.
Mary was celebrated as UN in Kenya Person of the Year (Runners Up) 2017 for her role in “Changing Lives through Promoting Skills, Decent Jobs and Enterprises in the Manufacturing Industry”. The award falls under the UN in Kenya Award of the year whose selection involves consultations and voting among all 25 United Nations agencies based in Kenya.
In 2018, Mary was nominated as Ernst &Young Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) East Africa Finalist 2018 in the Winning Woman Category. Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year recognizes entrepreneurs for their vision, innovation, courage and leadership in building and growing successful businesses.
In March 2019, Mary was the Winner – Manufacturing Category of Zuri Awards 2019. Zuri Awards is a platform that recognizes and celebrates outstanding women in line with the International Women’s Day theme. The women are inspiring other women through exceptional displays of leadership and changing lives of their communities in the various segments of the market.
In March 2019, Mary was conferred the Women in Manufacturing 2019 (Entrepreneur Category) by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers for her contribution towards elevating women in manufacturing.
Ngechu Mary’s enterprises are signatories of The UN Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP), a set of principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. They additionally contribute to 10 out of 17 SDGs
Informed by her background and expertise, Mary has embarked on a passionate journey to lead a discussion on the untapped potential for entrepreneurship and skills development in the area of waste management and utilization which has high potential for business to business transactions, resource efficiency and climate change mitigation through the TAKA TAKA NI MALI (waste is wealth) initiative.
The rate of unemployment in Kenya is the highest in the East African region hitting a new high at 39.1 %. (United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) 2017). Unemployment among Kenya’s youth is estimated to stand at 17.6%. Mary also aims to stir a discussion towards the major economic societal challenge of unemployment and the youth bulge in particular.